If a school catchment area is high on your new home wish list, here are our top tips...

Parents of young children may not yet have thought about school catchment areas, if they aren’t ready to move up to the next school yet, but the time to consider schools comes around quickly and can become a real priority for some families, with strict catchment areas sometimes even influencing home move decisions. If you’re keeping an eye out for new homes in Essex, Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The application process for 2024 primary school places in England opens in September 2023 and closes on 15th January 2024. The secondary school deadline is even earlier on 31st October 2023 for applications for 2024.

If a catchment area is important to you and you’re considering a move, Cala’s Regional Sales and Marketing Director, Glenn Copper, has some advice:

1. How do I check what school catchment areas my new home will be in?

The government website has a database of schools in each local area, showing distance from your postcode, Ofsted ratings and school types, such as religion, gender, academy etc.

It’s best to familiarise yourself with the schools in your desired area to see if they match your requirements.

2. How far in advance of the application deadline should I be looking to move?

Cala homes are usually released for reservation six to nine months in advance of move in dates (or completion).

The time it takes to move really depends on the point of reservation in terms of the build programme, but for those looking at the October deadline for secondary schools, I’d recommend beginning your search immediately.*

However, if a plot is close to build completion, or fully complete at the point of reservation, a customer could be moved in within as little as four weeks, and if you have a home to sell, we can make your move chain free with our Part Exchange* scheme.

3. When do I need to move by?

If you haven’t yet completed on your purchase, schools will ask for proof of exchange of contracts as part of the application process.

If a customer chooses a home with six months before the expected build completion date, then parents would need to factor those six months into their calculations. We would recommend that a customer reserves as early on as possible as this will also give them the chance to personalise their new home and pre-select their kitchen colour and flooring.

But if you are looking at our Ready for You homes, which are complete and ready to move in to, then we would recommend that a reservation is made a minimum of six weeks ahead of the school deadlines.


4. At what point do you exchange contracts?

Exchange of contracts is when both the buyer and the seller have committed themselves to the transaction under a legally binding agreement. We aim to reach this milestone within 28 days. Sometimes there can be delays while solicitors and home buyers work through the relevant details and queries.

5. I have a house to sell, when should I put it on the market?

We would recommend three to six months ahead of the deadlines as a minimum. We can help make this process smoother with Part Exchange*, where Cala could purchase your existing property to allow you to move chain-free into your new home.

We also offer an Assisted Move* service, in which we reserve the Cala home you have set your heart on for an agreed number of weeks while we help you secure a purchaser on your existing property by arranging independent valuations and managing the selected selling agents. Where applicable, we will also pay your selling agent’s fees and home buyer report costs.

Who do I speak to for more information?

Our sales teams are the best people to speak to for more information on Cala developments across Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Cala developments often benefit from having excellent quality schools nearby, including our Wintringham development in St Neots, which is a stone’s throw from the nationally recognised Wintringham Primary Academy. If you’re looking for a new property for sale in Cambridgeshire, this could be the perfect solution.

Other Cala developments that benefit from high quality school catchment areas include Limsi Grove in Hertford, which falls in the catchment area for the highly competitive Simon Balle All-Through School, and Beaulieu for a new home in Chelmsford, which is home to Essex’s first All-Through school, Beaulieu Park School.

Please visit our development pages to register your interest or contact our sales team.

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